Telum Talks To… Joshua Chambers, Head of Communications & Marketing, Asia Pacific, UK Department for International Trade

Telum Talks To… Joshua Chambers, Head of Communications & Marketing, Asia Pacific, UK Department for International Trade

Telum caught up with Joshua Chambers, Head of Communications & Marketing, Asia Pacific at the UK Department for International Trade to talk about his transition from GovInsider, key lessons taken from his interactions with government senior public officials and handy tips for communicators to excel in the current digital landscape.

Can you tell us more about your new role, and what made you decide to make the switch from media?
It is an exciting time to join the UK Government’s Department for International Trade. Our tilt to the Indo-Pacific makes this a vital and vibrant region for Britain. It seemed a natural next step to move from writing about government to being part of one!

As a former Founder and Managing Director of GovInsider, you’ve worked together with government senior public officials. From across the globe - what communication lessons do you think you could impart from these experiences?
Authenticity; creativity; positivity! I have often been struck by the dedication and care of government officials, and I also have a lot to learn from our fantastic network of communicators across the region.

Can you share with us some communication challenges that government services face in the current environment?
We are all experimenting in the ‘new normal’ and adapting our ways of working. From webinars to livestreams, there are many new options for us to consider and use.

In your opinion, what should communicators do differently to excel in the current digital landscape?
Use data but experiment frequently! Small scale proofs of concept can offer a great deal of value.
Communications professionals must constantly adapt our approaches, finding different methods from cartoons to videos, games to data dashboards and even digital festivals. There are so many wonderful new ways to tell stories and share important messages. Storytelling has become democratised by tech, and we can tap into this rich seam of creativity by learning from others and constantly testing ourselves.

What are some trends in the communications industry that you have an eye on at the moment?
I’m interested in how we augment the physical experience with virtual, rather than choosing one or the other. Meetings and physical interactions will still form an important part of our work, but how can we add value to these engagements in a digital way?

There have been some experiments in this space, but I am sure that the market will continue to evolve rapidly this year. There have been some fascinating ideas around holograms, but I am most keen to see more augmented reality for physical event attendees and better virtual interactions.

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